Hell Hath No Fury – The Sufferfest approach to 2 x 20

I write this post as my other half makes an appreciative ‘hm’ noise from his position on the rollers. He’s watching ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ – the female only training video from The Sufferfest. The video was a Christmas present to me last year, but like all the best presents – we share it. Right now I’m taking it easy on an end off season break – so what better way to enjoy it than review his suffering?

Here is the trailer:

The video, like most (all?) Sufferfest videos is set in Sufferlandria. You – the rider – are a member of the Sufferlandiran team, taking part in a stage race that consists of two road races, and a team time trial. As in all Sufferfest videos, the screen plays footage from pro races (in this case all women’s races) and the images are accompanied by varied, dynamic music.

This video is a play on the classic tester session: 2×20. Most time trialists know it. Love it, hate it, rate it or not: you’ve done it. It hurts, right? Sufferfest make it a bit easier by giving you something to watch and focus on – but they slightly alter the purpose in the process.

The video begins with an easy warm up as riders chat, have massages (hence the earlier appreciative ‘hm’) and prepare their bikes. When the race begins, there are a few short efforts over small climbs to get your heart rate ready for what is next.

Stage 1:

A rider makes a break, and so begins interval number 1. You’ve got 20 minutes of 7/10, with bouts of 8/10 and 9/10. The music picks up, and that bastardly little ‘7/10′ takes it’s place in the corner of the screen. A few minutes in the break away rider attacks, and you’re meant to hit it with 9/10. You’re directed to get out the saddle, use high cadence/low cadence and so on.

This is pretty controversial – the idea of 2 x 20 is that you ride within range of your ’25mile TT race pace’ (FTP) for twenty minutes, twice – you’re not really meant to go over or under that very little tiny red line. Still, the dance music continues and that rider on the screen keeps going harder – how can you not? Plus – if you’re a road racer hoping to time trial away from the peleoton and win solo – then this session is perfect.

After twenty minutes of hard work – the girl on the Cervelo beats you. You get six minutes to recover. In this time, you get to see long rolling roads and some soothing, easy music plays. The screen cuts back to the race where reporters interview your DS, and Sufferfest really come into their own as they mock your feeble effort. The comedy factor is great and it really is more interesting than staring at the wall, simply dreading the second 20.

Stage 2

After reflecting on your sorrows – it’s time to start that second 20. On the plus side – you’ve got the story to motivate you – that cow on a Cervelo has taken the lead, and nobody training to a video by a production company called ‘Sufferfest’ likes losing.

Are you going to let her beat you?
Are you going to let her beat you?

You repeat it all again. New music, new scenery – the same pain. To cut the story short – you’re close to the lead, but not quite there – still 10 seconds down. You’re failing on your own home turf.

Stage 3

That’s where Sufferfest deviate from the standard 2 x 20 even more. They add a little extra pain on the end. First you get some recovery in – four minutes in which you need to get over the previous effort, and get ready for the final test.

For a funny side note, I’ll share with you that my sweating other-half just said: “I promised myself I wouldn’t have to do this.”

To win the leaders jersey for the Tour of Sufferlandria – you need to win a 3min30 Team Time Trial. This, by the way, is the leaders jersey:

The Leaders Jersey looks like this.

I like this little twist. After a really hard session – maybe you shouldn’t have a little extra to give – but if you do, you want to use it up, right? If you don’t have anything left on your legs, you’ll know you’ve done the job. So it’s a win-win situation.

The final 3mins30 sets the scene with Team Time Trial footage. You put everything you’ve got left into the win. You put every egg you’ve got left in the basket.. and.. well I won’t ruin it.

To recap – this is the breakdown of what you get from this video:

3:30 Warm-up
5:30 Stage 1: Easy, flat terrain at effort level of 6/10 with a few accelerations
20:00 Stage 2: Rolling terrain with a series of attacks
6:00 Recovery
20:00 Stage 3: More rolling, attacking racing
4:00 Recovery
3:30 Stage 4: Team Time Trial
6:00 Recovery, featuring Mental Training Reflection

‘Hell Hath No Fury’ is a slightly more interesting twist on a classic session. The music and visuals will keep you motivated and give you a giggle along the way with the odd bit of humour (I really hope it’s humour).

For a time trialist, pre season, or mid season, when you need to get really used to the one pace time trial ethic, mixing it up like this might not help. In that case, you can use the video for the music and visual stimulation (not that sort) – but opt for a steady FTP effort.

If you’re a bit less single minded (let’s face it – we’re not pros, we can afford to have bit of fun) – you can mix it up and do as directed. And of course, if your aims are different and you’re dreaming of road race glory in the style of Tony Martin meets Vuelta (he didn’t win by it was glory worthy!) – this is perfect. Either way – you’ll get a great soundtrack and some awesome racing to watch when you occasionally bring your head up from the handlebars.

I’m available to review products and guest blog. Flick to ‘about me‘ for contact details.

Published by michellearthursbrennan

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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